Obituaries

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Deacon Robert LaCosse

Class of 1990

Deacon Robert LaCosse, 80, died May 1 in Marquette, Michigan. He was ordained in 1990 and served at St. Mary Parish, Buffalo Grove, before returning to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he was born and raised, in 1999.

He served in the Marine Corps from 1957 to 1960 and returned home and married his wife, Janet, in 1962. The couple moved to Chicago the same year. Five years later, they moved to Buffalo Grove.

Deacon LaCosse was an accountant and financial planner for several Chicago-area companies.

He is survived by his wife, Janet; his children Jeffrey LaCosse, Scott LaCosse, Robert Michael LaCosse and Lee Ann LaCosse; six grandchildren; and his brothers Gene LaCosse and Stanley LaCosse.

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Deacon Robert Banet

Class of 1977

Deacon Robert A. Banet, 92, died May 7. He was retired and had been living in Crown Point, Indiana. He was ordained in 1977 and ministered at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Calumet City, where he lived at the time.

Deacon Banet was also a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He taught English literature and composition at Calumet College of St. Joseph and Bellarmine University.

He is survived by his children, Kevin Banet, Christopher  Banet, Eva Lambert, David Banet and Jane Zatorski; nineteen grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and a sister, Mary Ann Kruer. His wife, Mary, predeceased him.

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Sr. Mary Bruce Wright

Educator

School Sister of Notre Dame Mary Bruce (Patricia Ann) Wright, 82, died March 1 at Resurrection Life Center.

Born in Chicago, she was baptized at St. Michael Church and attended St. Bonaventure School and St. Michael High School.

She entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1955 and professed final vows in 1963.

Sister Mary Bruce taught intermediate grades at schools in Wisconsin and locally at St. Rosalie, Harwood Heights; and St. Paul. She became an administrator at St. Paul, and later at St. Margaret of Scotland, also in Chicago, after teaching junior high at St. Margaret for several years.

In 1997, Sister Mary Bruce became medical payments coordinator for the Chicago Province, and eventually for the Chicago area of the Atlantic-Midwest Province.

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Sr. Julita Jelen

Educator

School Sister of Notre Dame Julita (Stella) Jelen, 102, died at Resurrection Life Center on April 18.

She was a vowed member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame for 84 years.

Born in Chicago, she attended St. John Cantius School and St. Stanislaus Commercial High School. She was received into the novitiate in 1934 and was professed the following year. She taught first grade for 31 years at many schools, including St. Therese Chinese Catholic School. She opened a new school in Wisconsin with two companions before returning to the Archdiocese of Chicago to teach at St. Alphonsus; St. Anthony; and St. Benedict, Blue Island.

In 1975, Sister Julita became principal at St. Michael School in Old Town. Sister Julita was the last principal there; the school closed in 1981.

She was then principal of St. Columba School for 10 years. Following retirement, she remained at St. Columba, ministering to the homebound and elderly and volunteering as librarian and tutor in the school.

She moved to Resurrection Life Center in 2015.

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Sr. Bridie Kelly

Educator

Servite Sister Bridie Kelly, 88, died May 14 in Wheeling.

She retired after many years of service at St. Domitilla School, Hillside.

She is survived by her sisters Kathleen Shanley, Mary Duggan, Nora Doherty and Margaret Callaghan.

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Fr. Edward J. McKenna

Hospital chaplain

Father Edward J. McKenna, 79, died April 11. He was most recently the  Catholic chaplain at St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights.

Father McKenna was born in Chicago and attended St. Dorothy and St. Philip Neri schools, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary before being ordained in 1965.

He was assistant pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas and associate pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Glenview; St. Bridget; and St. Paul (22nd Place).

In addition, McKenna served as a Catholic chaplain at Maryhaven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center; at Holy Family Medical Center, Des Plaines; and St. James Hospital, Chicago Heights.
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Fr. David P. Dowdle

Pastor

Rev. David P. Dowdle, 65, died April 18. He was senior priest and former pastor of St. John of the Cross Parish in Western Springs.

Born in Chicago, he attended St. Bernardine School, Forest Park; Quigley Preparatory Seminary; Niles College Seminary of Loyola University; and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary before being ordained in 1979.

Father Dowdle served as associate pastor of St. Marcelline, Schaumburg; St. Mary of Celle, Berwyn; and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Glenview. He was pastor of St. Gall (1992-2000), then became director of spiritual formation for the Deacon Formation Program.

In 2007, Dowdle was appointed pastor of St. John of the Cross in Western Springs, Illinois, and served in that role until 2018. As his health declined, he continued to serve as a senior priest.

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Deacon Mathews Vellurattil

Class of 1999

Deacon Mathews VellurattilDeacon Mathews C. Vellurattil, 69, died April 22.

He was ordained in 1999 and served at St. Ladislaus Parish.

He is survived by his wife, Kunjoonjamma (Kay), his son Sijin; two grandchildren; and his siblings Father George Vellurattil, Lizy, Joseph, Alex and Shiny.

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Sr. Mary Jo Stewart

Educator

Providence Sister Mary Jo (Joseph Maureen) Stewart, 91, died April 20 in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

Born in Indiana, she entered the Sisters of Providence in 1945 and professed final vows in 1952. She ministered in education and health care in Indiana, Illinois, California and Mississippi. In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she taught at Our Lady of Sorrows (1947-1948); St. Genevieve, (1948-1952) and St. Francis Borgia (1952-1954).

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Sr. Patricia Ann Miller

Educator

Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Patricia Ann “Pam” (Marie Job) Miller, 78, died April 25 in Hazel Green, Wisconsin.

Born in Kansas City, Sister Pam made her first religious profession in 1967 and her perpetual profession in 1970. She was a teacher, pastoral minister and congregation leader who served in Minnesota, Illinois, Montana, Alaska, Washington and Oregon.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sister Pam taught at Trinity High School, River Forest (1976-1978).

She is survived by a sister, Cathy Colver, and two brothers, James Miller and Thomas Miller.

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